Sunday, October 30, 2005

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The Temptation of St. Anthony
Salvador Dali

I'm drawn to Salvador Dali's work. I don't know why. Perhaps because he seems to embrace the feeling of absurdity that I have from time to time about life amd the church in particular.I love my church. But sometimes it seems to me that the hardest thing on earth is just to go into church and serve God with all your heart. It all seems a little absurd to me. You sing a song one Sunday and bless the congregation and two weeks later you find that you are now the victim of a major haters campaign to destroy your reputation...
I actually had a woman resent me for being asked to take attendance on a bus one time. It gets a little weird. A few years ago I taught one woman all of my tricks to decorating. Before I knew it she was pushing me out of my ministry, taking over and trying to boss me!
Several years ago I took on the altar cloth ministry. I am the sole member of an elite team of one. Every week Fr. Mike puts the altar cloth out on the rail for me and I iron it.
I love this job. I do it all alone when no one else is around and hardly a soul knows that its my job. No competition here. Just me waging the weekly battles against candle wax and the two distinguished gentlemen who will wad last week's cloth up in an unforgiving ball if I don't stop them first. (Not to mention any names, Fr. Mike and Vince)
That is my favorite ministry by far, because it is unseen and unheard, except by the only one that really matters - God.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Catching Hell

Well, I suppose I should have seen it coming. The hell and high water. I mean, if you beleive that satan and his forces do exist, and I do, and you have the nerve to run around claiming to be "Inexpugnable" you should know that you are setting yourself up to be proven wrong. You might as well paint a big bulls eye on your life, swing the door wide open and say, "Come on in and have at it!" I mean, come on, he is the prince of this world, the prince of darkness, and even though we know who wins he actually does a pretty good job of keeping many Christians cowed and bullied, walking on egg shells. So no, it shouldn't have been a surprise to me that when I stood up and challenged his psuedo authority, he got a little...shall we say pissed. So yes, I have been catching crazy hell for a while now. But I've got a message for you lucifer. I'm still

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Thursday, October 20, 2005

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When I was a child on the farm, one of the most exausting things that could happen to you is to get stuck in the muck. Woe to the happless wanderer who ventured unwittingly into the muck. It was really horrible. Usually you had your work boots on anyway, which were huge and heavy just by themselves. You would exhaust yourself to pull one foot up, just to have it sucked back down again. At times you would have to get a helping hand or a stick to lean on to get yourself out. Yuck. If there is one thing I learned from the experience, it was that just because your tired, doesn't mean you've been climbing. My battles in the muck field taught me that you can wear yourself out going nowhere. I wonder how many times we make that mistake spiritually. How many times do we play the role of Martha, running ourselves ragged doing good deeds while forgetting or neglecting " the better thing."

The "Left Behind" series has been a big hit. People have spent so much time and energy reading the books and focusing on the rapture and end times. But I have to wonder if the bigger concern of our lives shouldn't be over getting left behind by the wind of the Spirit and what God is doing on this earth in the here and now. Could it be possible to be stuck so deeply in the muck of our old habits, ways and ideas that we fail to even realise we have been left behind, even as those around us are caught up into the new things of God? Just because you're tired, doesn't mean you've been climbing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Their Graves were Marked with Stones

I called my mother to tell her that I had met some African-Americans with our last name. She told me that there is a family cemetery where there is a plot of graves of our family's former slaves that were just marked with stones. I am going to try to visit during Thanksgiving this year to go see it.

It truly amazes me that even while looking into the face of human mortality, people could be so indifferent to the lives of others. I am so saddened that the slaves of my ancestors were not even seen as being worthy of proper grave markers.

Family Reunion

My family owned slaves.
There is no getting around that fact. We have the documentation to prove it.
In fact some of my ancestors were instrumental in getting legislation passed that would make the enslavement of Native Americans legal.
For more years than I recall I have wanted to find the descendants of my family's slaves. But I had so many questions. In our family wills, they didn't even bother to put last names.

"The slave woman, Mary

The boy, Raphe"

Last night I was standing in line to sign my name and an African-American couple were in front of me. As they stepped away I looked at the name they had signed and stopped in my tracks.

It was my maiden name.

My maiden name is not a common one.

I touched the woman on the arm and drew her to the side. I pointed to her signature because even though I had watched her sign it with my own eyes, I couldn't believe it. I asked her, "Is that your name?" She said yes.
I told her that was my maiden name. I asked her if I could get her information so that I could contact her. I stammered and paused not knowing quite how to say the words. They caught in my throat.
"My family owned slaves."

We spoke very little, but understood each other perfectly. I couldn't believe how sweet and gracious she was to me. I told her how this had been a prayer of mine. Knowing my family history, and the rarity of my maiden name, I said in an awed whisper, "It has to be."

She looked at me and said "Yes."

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Raisin in the Sun

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A Dream Deferred

by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Science Fair

Well, as most of y'all know, I'm in school now. I had to write a paper and I used what I think is one of the more humorous episodes from my childhood as an illustration. I thought I would post it here, because to me it was quite funny...especially since the main character wasn't above seeing the humor of her situation.

Making the Grade

When I was a child our family moved quite a bit. During my 13 years of primary education and High School we moved a total of five times, and I attended 7 different schools during this time period. One of those schools was a tiny little rural school called Pleasant Lake Elementary. Even though it was a small country school, it was actually one of the better ones I attended. It had a great Music program, but in particular, it’s the science program that stands out in my mind. Pleasant Lake Elementary did the science fair and did it well. We worked for what seemed like months on our projects. The whole school was focused on this annual event. Even students as young as the third grade submitted entries. It was a very big deal indeed. Two years in a row I did my project on honeybees.

There is only one other project that I remember specifically from those years. It earned an indelible place in my memory bank. It was the project on calories submitted to our fifth grade class by my classmate, Jeanine. Jeanine’s project was stunning. We, her classmates, had spent hours cutting out letters, frantically pasting pictures, and drawing on our white poster boards like men on fire. But our projects could not hold a candle to Jeanine’s. Her headings were typed. Her pictures were flawless. They were mounted perfectly. It put our less than pristine attempts at the art of gluing construction paper to poster board to shame. There was little doubt to our young minds that her project stood heads and tails above the rest.

Jeanine’s presentation was as equally impressive as her display. She stood confidently up by the teacher’s desk as she spoke, framed by the sunlight pouring through the windows of our second floor classroom. When she opened her mouth to speak, we were astounded as we sat listening to a flood of scientific lingo that rolled deftly off her tongue. We watched with rapt attention as she heated up her Bunsen burner. We had never heard or seen anything like it and we were duly impressed. That spring, during the heady days of science fair fever, Jeanine earned the rarest of rare compliments from our otherwise rowdy fifth grade class –we sat listening in awestruck silence. You could have heard a pin drop.

Suddenly a voice from the back of the room pierced the silence with an inquiry. It was the voice of Mrs. Fee, our teacher, asking Jeanine a question about her project. Jeanine responded to the question with another flood of the scientific lingo that had so effectively amazed the rest of her classmates. Mrs. Fee’s voice reflected something other than amazement as she asked, “What does that mean, Jeanine?” Jeanine’s face began to redden and broke out in a sheepish grin as she replied, “I don’t know.” Mrs. Fee asked Jeanine another question about her project and was answered by yet another flurry of scientific lingo. Mrs. Fee again asked Jeanine, “What does that mean?” and once again Jeanine, her face growing an even deeper shade of red, responded that she did not know.

The cat was out of the bag, and our class erupted in giggles. The final death knell tolled on Jeanine’s project when Mrs. Fee asked her who had actually done her project.

Caught up in the merriment of her classmates, Jeanine responded, while giggling herself, “My mother and sister.”

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Green Knight Hits a Home Run

Regardless of your political beliefs, I highly recommend reading this excellent article by The Green Knight.

A Prayer for Today

Dear Lord,
I know that your word tells us that everyday is a day to rejoice,
but I have to be honest.
I'm not looking forward to today.
I know that every day is full of uncertainty, but this day is even more so for me.
Today I have no idea what to expect from
my students,
the faculty,
the administration,
or even really

I'm afraid.

Father, I know that you know all things,
so you know that the day before yesterday
a student from our school walked in on a burglar in his home.
You know that this ruthless person didn't stop at taking things that could be replaced,
such as stereos and t.v.s.
This person, took something so irreplaceable
....that child's life.
And he didn't just take it, but did it in a way that was so ugly and cruel.

He was a good kid Father.
An A&B student who never got in trouble at school.

I don't understand.

Lord, be with us today, as we walk the halls of our school,
and sit in our classrooms.
Be with that child's parents and family as they struggle
through grief,
and the anguish of making funeral arrangements.
Be with them as they come to terms with saying goodbye to a 14 year old boy
who should have been able to walk into his own home without finding himself in the
wrong place at the wrong time.

What if it were my child?

Be with us Lord.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


This is one painting I believe I feel more than actually see. It illustrates
the horrors of war more accurately than words ever could, I feel.... the screaming horse, the broken bodies, the horrified faces... Collateral damage?

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Pablo Picasso

Monkey see...

My pirate name is:

Red Mary Bonney

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

Wednesday, October 05, 2005



After meeting with Fr. Mike and several other community leaders today the construction company in question agreed to acquiesce to our demands that they hire at least a 50% African American work force.

I guess they decided we were serious after all.

One out of 25 =25%?

Demonstration at Catholic Charities construction site

- A protest at a South Side construction turns ugly when demonstrators try to physically stop the work.

"Get your hands off me or arrest me," said Father Michael Pfleger of Saint Sabina Church, who led the protest at a Catholic Charities site, 1210 W. 78th Place. Father Pfleger says the project isn't using enough minority workers.

Catholic Charities says 25-percent of those involved are minority owned businesses. Pfleger says that's not enough.

"They have been promising to hire and so far he's hired one African-American and that is not acceptable in the African-American community. We have a whole database of union people, electric, masonry, the whole thing. He won't hire," said Father Michael Pfleger, Saint Sabina Church.

Police called to the scene asked the protestors to leave because they were on private property. Catholic Charities say they are following hiring practices used by the Archdiocese of Chicago and the City of Chicago.

1. We didn't "try" to stop construction, we did stop it.
2. Not only were they not hiring African American's for the project, they had the nerve to have a sign directing applicants to OUR employment resource center, even though they only hired one person we sent to them.
3. Our employment resource director has spoken to them repeatedly about this since July to no avail.
4. They agreed to our terms of employment when they accepted the contract.
5. Some cocky little policeman tried to put some kind of a pain grip on Fr. Mike.
6. C.,this one is for you. Scout broke through the police line and climbed down in a hole under a back hoe.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Happy Birthday Gandhiji!

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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
October 2, 1869 - January 30, 1948

Saturday, October 01, 2005

We have Lift Off!

Wooo Hoooo! I got a new computer that is even better than my old one! Well...its new to me anyway. Its a 2 yr old Dell Inspiron lap top. Much bigger than the petite little loaner I was working on, but still portable enough to take into the living room and work on my homework with my feet up!!! Yes, I got a little spoiled about that...
Thanks to all of you for your prayers and kind words! OOOOXXXXX from Angevoix.